Review: Mass Effect: Foundation (#7)

MEFndtn7CoverFinally, it’s the of ‘Mass Effect: Foundation‘ comic I have been waiting for. Number seven, or Jack’s issue. Jack is a companion and possible love interest for the main character, Commander Shepard, in the game Mass Effect 2. She also appears in Mass Effect 3.

Jack, formerly known as Subject Zero, is a powerful biotic with a tortured past. She was ‘acquired’ as a child by Cerberus and subjected to terrible experiments aimed at producing a human biotic with exceptional power. A biotic has an element in their bloodstream that allows them to move matter with a gesture and a thought.

In the comic, Jack breaks into a Cerberus training facility. After dealing with the administrator, she attempts to liberate the students, most of whom believe they are orphans. Given Cerberus’ tactics, they probably are. Jack shares a snippet of her past in order to motivate the students to move.

Kai Leng and Agent Rasa are dispatched by the Illusive Man to pick her up. Rasa notes the Blue Suns have been sent in as backup, which seems unusual, until she discovers exactly what she is up against with Subject Zero. In Mass Effect 2, Kai Leng proves a difficult (and annoying) foe. In this comic, Jack tosses him around like a toy and there’s a certain sense of satisfaction to be gained from seeing it.

I’m not sure how this snippet of Jack’s past ties in with the over all story arc of the series. Perhaps there will be some mention in a later issue.

On to the art. I like the cover, but the first image of Jack inside makes me cringe. She looks too baby-faced and unless you know her torso is covered in tattoos, you’d think she’s wearing a chaotically patterned jumpsuit. Granted, her tattoos are hard to draw and quite often throughout the comic, artist Garry Brown suggests rather than paints. That seems indicative of his style, in fact. A lot of the panels lack details such as faces and attitude engraved with thicker lines. I don’t mind the style; it suits the busier panels and with the features of so many characters being less distinct, there is less fault to find.

Over all, this is one of the least satisfying issues in the series, thus far. I learned nothing new about my favourite companion, Jack, and the adventure did not advance the greater story arc. Still, I will doggedly continue with issue number eight in the hopes my persistence will pay off.

Written for SFCrowsnest.

Story: Sunshine

Two hundred years after the Reaper War, John Shepard remembers only that he was once a man and that he made a choice. As a ghost, he roams the galaxy, attention called by disparate events, until a ripple of ‘something’ calls him to the Kepler Verge.

Kat and Finch are mercenary engineers charged with making repairs on a derelict frigate. The ship is supposed to be un-powered except for the sync mechanism in the repaired circuitry. Something goes wrong and the ship blows apart.

Shepard has to decide whether to save the two people trapped in the wreckage. It’s not a simple choice and the repercussions of his actions will have consequences no one is prepared for.

~~~

“Sunshine” is a Mass Effect fan fiction written for the Mass Effect Big Bang, Fall 2013.
***Warning: Includes Mass Effect 3 ending spoilers***
Mass Effect belongs to BioWare. Artwork by Whuffie. Full Acknowledgements at Ao3

WPSunshine

one

His favourite colour had always been blue. The ocean, the sky, those flecks of unexpected cobalt embedded in grey stone, cornflowers, morning glory, the eyes reflected in a mirror. The Alliance. Earth from space. The charge beneath his skin, the glow that outlined his fingers at a thought, vapour licking at his heels as he sped through space, the ball of cleansing fire loosed at his enemies.

The fine tracery of veins beneath skin painted a blue so dark it was almost black—except where it wasn’t.

When he died, the galaxy turned blue. White blue flames licked over his arms, dissolving his skin in a cleansing fire of ethereal pain. He remembered the pain. He remembered coming apart, the process of being undone as motes of self pulled free, faster and faster until he lost cohesion. His voice was the last thing to fade; a moan that grew louder, shuddered through him, trying and failing to hold him together, maintain the integrity of being. The last sound a roar, a primordial cry as he became as infinite as the stars.

He did not remember his name. A whisper caressed the nascent bubble of being he carried within. The memory of a sound like the ocean. A sigh. A single kernel of self rippled beneath his touch, knowing without knowing, that it was his.

He did not remember whose skin had been painted with lines, but he knew it had been a person. One being, as distinct from the pulse of occupied space.

But he knew he had died. That thought was known to him, as was his current reality. He knew he was no longer a he, but the pronoun gave him a sense of self. He suspected needing such a sense, requiring it, ran counter to his objective, but he had been at work for a long, long time. And time had rippled and bunched, the flow inexorable, unsteady. A piece of it awaited him right there, and he slipped into it, the space of nothingness, and he breathed.

He was infinite. He remembered everything known by a thousand thousand species. He remembered nothing.

He remembered blue.

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